Cooled by Atlantic breezes, carpeted in vineyards and folded in the arms of velvet fynbos mountains, this wine paradise near the beautiful coastal town of Hermanus, just 90 minutes from Cape Town, produces (some might say) some of the best cool-climate wines in the world.
Hemel-en-Aarde has, over the past few years, become recognised as a destination for wine and food enthusiasts, especially of Burgundy-style pinot noirs and chardonnays.
Hemel-en-Aarde (meaning "Heaven and Earth" in Afrikaans) is an area of 15 wineries in the Walker Bay Wine Region that rises from behind the coastal village of Hermanus. Its terroir – clay soil and the cool south-easter that acts as a vortex, cooling down the vineyards with cold air from the Benguela current – imparts a unique flavour to wines, which are often compared with those of Burgundy.
Each winery in Hemel-en-Aarde produces small amounts of highly individual, terroir-driven premium wines that carefully express the winemakers’ personalities.
The Hemel-en-Aarde winegrowers is situated on a 20km-long meandering route (the R320) rich with vineyards, wine estates, restaurants and undoubtably one of the most scenic areas in in Hermanus.Contact Us
Hermanus is a haven for adventure lovers, with the Walker Bay Xtreme a feature on the calendar of thrill-seekers. Besides whale watching there is shark cage diving, mountain trail hiking and biking, as well as wine-and-food pairing for the less adventurous.
The Hemel-en-Aarde Area, on the fringe of Hermanus, unites three wine wards with a reputation for exceptional quality, small production and cool-climate wines.
The three wards, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge, are well known for their pinot noirs and chardonnays. The 13 farms include Bouchard Finlayson and Hamilton Russell among more well-known names, as well as the Wine Village store where local wines can be purchased at leisure.
Winery restaurants include Temptation and the Champagne Verandah at La Vierge, and Heaven at Newton Johnson Wines. Tasting room brunch boards are available at Bouchard Finlayson, deli platters at Sumaridge Wine Estate, antipasti platters and a kiddies' menu at Creation. Other restaurants include Moggs Country Cookhouse and Eat, The Classroom, Feathers Bistro and B’s Steak House in the Wine Village complex in Hermanus.
Whether you book in at the elegant Sumaridge Guest Lodge amid the vineyards, or spend the night at Spookfontein, the Hermanus Wine Route offers a wide variety of attractive, well-appointed accommodation, many with views over the ocean. In Hermanus itself, the well-known Windsor Hotel has a dose of old-world charm, while The Marine and Whale Coast hotels are worth a visit.
There are also a number of luxuriously appointed guesthouses in Hermanus and surrounds, as well as campsites and farmstays for those looking for something more off the beaten track.
Hermanus has a good variety of spa facilities on site at some of the guesthouses and hotels, and visitors can try the Carchele Health and Beauty Spa at The Marine Hotel, or the award-winning Arabella Hotel & Spa just outside town. There is also a large variety of walk-in beauty salons from which to choose, as well as a number of gyms, yoga and martial arts studios.
Activities offered by this beautiful coastal town include visits to Fernkloof Nature Reserve, various beaches, the Hermanus Country Market, the Lembu Gallery and Studio, numerous gift and crafts shops and stalls in the centre of the town, and some of the best whale and dolphin watching in the world.
Top Things To See And Do
- Wine tasting
- Wine and food pairing
- Scenic drives
- Adventure sports: surfing, kayaking, mountain biking
- Hiking in between fynbos and vineyards
- Cellar tours
- Wine-and-chocolate pairing
- Wine Hoppers safari-style tour from cellar to cellar
- Top golf courses in close proximity
- Vineyard tours
- Kogelberg Nature Reserve, Kogelberg Biosphere UNESCO World Heritage Site
Hermanus has a variety of festivals for visitors, including the Hermanus Whale Festival held in September, and the Hermanus FynArts Festival in June. This resort town has an active social calendar, so watch the press for details.
The Hemel-en-Aarde Hermanus Pinot Noir Celebration is a two-day event, renowned locally and abroad for this regions opportunity to showcase their Pinot Noirs and local cuisine. Industry leaders, celebrity chefs, selected media, wine connoisseurs and appreciators gather in Hemel-en-Aarde Hermanus for a two-day event with a mutual purpose – celebrating Pinot Noir, educating and exchanging knowledge of this spectacular cultivar, indulging in local cuisine and hospitality of the iconic Hemel-en-Aarde Hermanus winegrowing region.
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